Cars, Blu-ray 3D+2D+DVD+Digital Copy (2006/2013)

by | Oct 20, 2013 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews

Cars, Blu-ray 3D & 2D, DVD, Digital Copy (2006/2013)

Voices: Owen Wilson, Paul Newman, Bonnie Hunt, Larry the Cable Guy
Director: John Lasseter
Studio: Walt Disney 111716, 3 discs [10/29/13]
Music: Randy Newman
Video: 2.39:1 anamorphic/enhanced 1080p 3D or 2D color
Audio: English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, DD DVS 2.0, French & Spanish DD 5.1 (on DVD: DD EX 5.1, DD 2.0)
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish (English SDH on DVD)
Extras: Cine-Explore behind-the-scenes experience, Carfinder immersive game, Deleted scenes, Mater and the Ghostfight short, One Man Band short, more
Length: 117 minutes
Rating: ****½ 

I must admit some confusion about the different optical discs available of Cars. I know there has been a Cars 2, since this Pixar effort was such a winner for them. But it looks like there have been previous 3D Blu-ray releases.  I guess this one has additional extras that qualify it as the “Ultimate Collector’s Edition;” everyone knows about the studios’ ploy of constantly re-issuing their films in various versions so consumers will hopefully buy them again and again.

Well, since I don’t see another review of Cars in our site search, and since the next effort in this franchise comes out next month, Planes, I’ll review this. Gotta admit, it’s a terrific and entertaining Pixar family film and should be especially popular with the kids, in 3D or 2D.  I just found it a bit over the top on noise and cars racing around in circles at high speed. Don’t understand that interest that some people seem to have.

Lightning McQeen is a red hotshot race car voiced by Owen Wilson, trying to beat out a couple of other leading race cars and get a product-pushing contract with a top company, replacing his present low-grade bumper refresher product. He gets stranded in a forgotten little town off Route 66, and the town judge (a Hudson Hornet voiced by Paul Newman) sentences him to dragging an asphalting machine to lay a decent road thru the town before he get away to the big race in LA.  In the town he meets Sally (a blue Porsche voiced by Bonnie Hunt) and Mater, an old tow truck voiced by Larry the Cable Guy, who becomes Lightning’s best friend and whose popularity has even spun off some films of his own. The various car characters (I especially liked the tourist and his wife who couldn’t find the freeway, yet he refused to ask for directions) help Lighting to be less self-centered and understand there’s more to life than winning trophies.

There’s no actual songs by Randy Newman, but his music fits in beautifully and so do all the car sound effects on the 5.1 surround soundtrack. The 3D is terrific. I don’t know if this was done as 3D originally or in post-production, but I do know it’s easier to get knockout effects after the fact with animation than with live action. And the Blu-ray preserves them very well. It has D-BOX encoding—a natural for this film—and I’m sure those with that technology will get plenty of exciting swerves and bumps out of Cars. The digital copy is handled by the inclusion of a redemption code in the package, thus not requiring a physical disc.

—John Sunier

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